In religious life, there is a phase when individuals enjoy fellowship with brothers. This usually happens after the conversion, and tends to be extended for much longer, depending on how deeply the “newly convert” had broken (in his prime of consecration/sanctification) his old relationships and “non-Christian” friendships.
Being without friends, isolated from the world, stored in a church, the individual does his best to change that little world into the only relevant one.
So, he gets involved, dedicates himself, fights the local wars, suffers, makes others suffer, loves, loses trust and he keeps on going. He makes up excuses for so much foolishness, and he becomes crafty. He learns to speak only what is “well heard” and “spoken” in “the right way” according to the language of the ghetto. This continues until the day he doesn’t like the company of anyone, but he has nowhere else to go. So he stays and learns how to annoy others. He becomes so insensitive that he gets used to it and becomes cynical about everything. And he keeps doing so until the day he comes to his senses. If that doesn’t happen, he will simply die as “christian”.
When he comes to his senses, he realizes that there is a crowd of judges, and only a few brothers. He also discovers that some of his old friends from “outside” are truer brothers than many from “inside”.
I am saying that because I feel blessed. I have brothers from inside and from outside of the “church”. I know that I can depend on their friendship and their love. They show that in such a true way. Besides, I’ve already “come to my senses” and I know in my own skin how it feels to be a broken soul in a “christian” land.
I have many Christian friends. With some of them I have all the freedom. With others, I have a lot of freedom. Still with others, I have less freedom; nevertheless, it’s filled of care and friendship.
However, what I find shameful is the fact that the community of faith should be the freest place and the biggest promoter of human manifestations of the world. However, it is not. And it seems as it never was.
The other day, Adriana was preaching at Caminho da Graça, and she asked: “When do you want to feel free… really free…, do you look for the company of people in the church for fun?”
Many looked at each other and, among those looks, they admitted that from the individual freedom perspective, the presence of the “christians” wouldn’t be welcome during the fun time.
Well, that is a big pity.
It is a pity that in the faith environment people cannot be themselves for fear of being labeled.
It is a pity that the road for fun must be so far away from the faith community gateway.
It is a pity that the presence of a “brother” takes the desire away from all things.
It is a pity that things are like that only because of this cursed moral system that “protects” the “church” from life and reality.
A “church” only becomes a Church when everybody can be themselves, without disguises. It only becomes a Church when the joy enjoyed in other places doesn’t need to be denied among “christians”.
While the “christian’s” whole life is not dealt with purity, it will be impossible to have truth in being in the “church”.
As long as the “church” is a moral component instead of truth, performance instead of freedom, and judgment instead of trust in the God who is everyone’s Father, there will not be an atmosphere or an environment to make people truly feel happy together. There will not be an environment which enables them to know whom they can laugh near, in true communion with one another, not in a show of shameful performances.
Think about it!
Original Title: “Dá pra Ter Toda Espontaneidade com Um Crente?”
Translation: Kathy and Guilherme Sazonov, New Jersey
Correction: F. R. Castelo Branco (JUN/08)